Persian Potato Cakes ~ Kookoo

IMG_8422We went out in the boat this week for a late afternoon trip over towards the Secretary Islands.   So often the channel between Thetis and the small island group is very choppy, but that day it was beautifully calm. We were able to look at all the amazing rock formations, centuries old yew trees, and an abundance of seals.

It’s rare not to see a seal when you’re in these waters, but there were more than usual. Whether they were resting on rocks or in the water, they were all around. I suppose the fishing was good!

It was a lovely prelude to our fish & chips at Vesuvius, trying to squeak another wonderful dinner at the Seaside Restaurant before the days are too short.

The trip back was full of a late summer’s evening light, resting on the sandstone cliffs of Tent & Penelakut Islands. We could all feel the bit of chill in the air, reminding us that autumn isn’t far off.IMG_8314

September is our month for getting all those outside jobs done before fall really does set in, easy suppers, served late, and quickly getting back outside to do evening chores before dark. Meals have to be quick on these days, so I’m always looking for new ways to make that happen. Working on the middle-eastern menu for the island’s recent Summer Soiree, I found the lovely Persian vegetable & egg cakes called Kookoo. They are so versatile, and easy to make. We did a potato version as one of the appetizers. Our Gypsy-King musician, Barra, was so excited to have these treats from his heritage. His enthusiasm made them a hot item!

Somehow I’ve gone from centuries old yew trees and seals to middle-eastern traditional cuisine, but it all fits; a dish that is new to us, but traditional to others. It’s all about where we come from, and where we are today.

Click here for printable version.

Serves 6 – 8


2# potatoes – either boiled or baked in their skins until just tender, and chilled before using.

1 good-sized bunch of cilantro – rinsed

1 t turmeric

8 large eggs

3 cloves of garlic, mashed or pressed

1 t Kosher salt

Canola oil for frying


Peel off the potato skins using the side of a dessert fork. Much easier than using a knife, and you don’t scrape off much potato.IMG_8389

Grate the potatoes using the medium grating side of a box grater.IMG_8390

Cut the rough stems off of the cilantro, and discard.IMG_8396

Chop the remaining tender stems and leaves.IMG_8397

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.

Add in the salt, turmeric, and garlic.IMG_8393

Whisk together.

Add in the chopped cilantro.

Whisk together.IMG_8399

Stir in the grated potato until well incorporated.



Heat 2 T oil over medium heat in a large skillet.

Reduce the heat to just below medium.

Spoon in the batter in 2 tablespoon sized portions. I use an eighth of a cup measure.   You can make them round, like little pancakes, or oblong, which is more traditional.

Let them cook for about 3 minutes per side, until just lightly golden. Adjust heat if they’re browning too quickly.



IMG_8418As they’re ready, remove to a paper towel lined plate. Add more towel as you go, not letting the cakes go more than two layers before adding more paper.

You may need to add a bit more oil to the pan, when you’re about half way through.

Once they’re all cooked, serve immediately with the following Yogurt-Cucumber Sauce.

Garnish with dried rose petals if you have them. I picked buckets of wild petals in the spring, drying them and freezing them for using year round.

Kookoo’s are great gently reheated and served. I just use the microwave. 


Yogurt Cucumber Sauce 

1½ c plain Greek yogurt

6” piece of an English Cucumber – peeled, cut into long slices, and then diced.

2 cloves of garlic, mashed or pressed

5 mint leaves, chopped or thinly sliced

¼ t Kosher salt

Mix all well together.

Cover & chill until served.

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